Not change the net.. but change something else..
Honestly, I don't intend to buy one of these. That being said, I don't see the device as being nearly as bad as the "fanbois" or likewise critics do. Here you have a multitouch device, running the iPhone OS, which here is not such a bad thing as well: I have seen quite a few "Custom" OS's for netbooks and small media devices.. and lets not get started on Chrome OS.
What I probably wont see, is people buying them, and putting them to a practical use. People who can't figure out how to use a computer, and want something even simpler to operate than a Mac, Preloaded Win7 configuration, or NetbookRemix by Ubuntu (or whomever), will probably take a bite. I mean really - lets look at the 15-25 year old market. Many of them use their machines for little more than 3 things:
1) Social networking (FB, Twitter, ect, ect)
Yup, Throw that in my binder, and I'm ready for class.
And at a fraction of the price of a bigger laptop (or apple), it does have some appeal: after all, the same was true of the netbook market.
And here is the big but, They're going to be sold as a novelty gadget. A colourful ebook reader and media player. what they COULD be doing with these devices (and I'm not just talking about apple here. I'm talking about any company looking at the iPad and saying "hmmmm"), is marketing them to the industry, which apple wont.
For a year now, I've convinced a few friends of mine to use iPods/iPhones for various other tasks than *gasp* games and watching podcasts. Lets imagine your pharmacist had a hand held database that crossreferenced your medication against other symptoms and meds, health care plans, and looked for cost alternatives, and even conflicts that could cause you harm. "There's an app for that"... and there was before the iPhone, which ran on palm platforms, amoung other things. what this touch device did was allow barcode scanning (camera) to quickly add new drug inventory to the database, show your clients the pills (if they couldn't remember the name - I've worked with a few older individuals from time to time), sign for things, etc etc. But only an incredible minority of the people owning devices like these, actually used them above and beyond their intended capabilities.
I'd love to see the iPad have a bit of success. Why? simple - drives inovation. Script to text recognition, image comparative software, incomming gesture sensors... start adding these to a device and you've got a highly versatile clipboard for hospitals, medical centers, delivery companies, you name it. and I don't care who provides it. But I think apple has the right idea for a device like this. Keep it simple, keep it app based, remove unnecessary system management access for a tool that isn't going to be maintained on the user level, make it adaptive to different roles, but above all, make it enjoyable and intuitive to use.
Would I trade up my notebook for one? not hardly. But would I use one in a business environment, in a generation or so when these changes are made? Why not.